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Trenching
& Excavation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes excavating as one of the most hazardous construction operations. Based upon OSHA’s fatality rates, two workers are killed every month in the United States due to trench collapses.

All excavations and trenches dug on OSU property must comply with the regulations contained in OSHA's Safety and Health Regulations for Construction (29 CFR Part 1926), Subpart P, Excavations and must comply with all of the following procedures before and during excavating and trenching activities:

The office of Facilities, Design and Construction (FDC) must be contacted at least 72 hours prior to excavating/trenching by contacting Service-2-Facilities either by phone (614-292-6158) or email (service2facilities@osu.edu) with point of contact and location information. Check the FOD Utility Marking Work Request Process.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) must be contacted at least 48 hours prior to excavating/trenching by contacting Mark Jackson (614-247-8434).

The Ohio Utilities Protection Services (OUPS) must be contacted at least 48 hours prior to excavating/trenching by calling 811 or 1-800-326-2764.

The City of Columbus maintains traffic tighting on campus and is responsible for physical markings. Contact the City of Columbus Transportation Division (Traffic Signals) at 614-645-7393 or fax a marking request to them at 614-645-5967.

A competent person must be on site during excavation/trenching activities and inspect the excavation/trench daily.

All excavations/trenches 5 feet in depth (or more) in depth must use benching, shoring or shielding systems to protect workers, unless the excavation/trench is made entirely in stable rock.

All excavations/trenches 20 feet in depth (or more) must use a registered professional engineer to design a protective system to protect workers.

All excavations/trenches 4 feet in depth (or greater) must have a safe means of access or egress (Ladder, stairway or ramp) that requires no more than 25 feet of lateral travel for workers.

All workers/pedestrians near the edge of a excavation/trench 6 feet in depth (or more) must be protected from falling by use of guardrail systems, fences or barricades.

All spoils, tools, equipment and materials must be kept at least 2 feet from the edge of the excavation/trench.

Should the competent person find a situation that could result in possible cave-in, failure of a protective system, hazardous atmosphere or any other hazardous condition, all workers will be immediately removed from the excavation/trench until safe working conditions can be ensured.